“There are two things I am afraid of. One is dying young. The other is Johnny Monroe.”
Small southern towns have few secrets. But when a grieving daughter confronts the local bully, she unwittingly triggers a series of traumatic events that will change her life forever.
Appalachia, 1941. Thirteen-year-old Louisa May "Wildflower" McAllister's heart still aches for her father. A year after her dad's tragic sawmill accident, she relies on her strength of spirit and her heightened intuition to deal with a critical mother and cope with the aftermath. Despite these hardships, Wildflower has a resilience that is forged with humor, a love of the land, and an endless supply of questions.
But when she's targeted by the town's teenage bad boy, she may need more than her "secret sense" to survive.
Will Wildflower fall to another tragedy or will her strength be enough to carry her through?
With prose as lush and colorful as the American south, The Secret Sense of Wildflower is powerful and poignant, brimming with energy and angst, humor and hope.
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Named a Best Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews: “A quietly powerful story, at times harrowing but ultimately a joy to read.”
“This was chosen by our book club as our book for the month. I am so happy it was! It was the best book of the year.” – Cecilia C.
“I've never read a story as dramatically understated that sings so powerfully and honestly about the sense of life that stands in tribute to bravery as Susan Gabriel's The Secret Sense of Wildflower.” – T.T. Thomas
Lyrical and suspenseful southern fiction
This is a fantastic read! I enjoyed Gabriel's first novel, Seeking Sara Summers. The Secret Sense of Wildflower is quite a departure, or perhaps demonstrates the breadth of Gabriel's abilities. It also shows her depth, as the writing is very solid. The novel is set in 1940's Appalachia and is full of humor mixed in with a serious theme. Wildflower (her nickname) is a spunky teen whose beloved father died a year or so ago and she and her mother and three sisters forge their way without their man. A local boy, Johnny Monroe is one of those mountain cretins you don't want to meet (think Deliverance) and he and Wildflower have a dramatic encounter. I don't want to reveal the storyline, but I recommend this to those who are tired of badly written novels and want a lyrical, suspenseful story that is hard to forget.